This month, Dave Clews looks at how us­ing articulations can help add au­then­tic­ity to your pro­grammed brass parts

Computer Music - - Contents -

Dave Clews shows how to use articulations on brass

Of all the tasks when cre­at­ing mu­sic on a com­puter, one of the trick­i­est things is pro­gram­ming re­al­is­tic brass parts that sound plau­si­ble. Luck­ily, re­cent de­vel­op­ments in sampling and vir­tual synth tech­nol­ogy have made things a lot eas­ier, mainly thanks to the gen­er­ous pro­vi­sion of articulations found in mod­ern brass sam­ple li­braries. But what are articulations, and how can they make your brass parts sound more au­then­tic?

In short, an ar­tic­u­la­tion is a par­tic­u­lar way of play­ing a cer­tain in­stru­ment. Most peo­ple could pick up a trum­pet, for ex­am­ple, and get some­thing re­sem­bling a mu­si­cal note out of it. But a prac­tised player would use dif­fer­ent tech­niques to ex­tract dif­fer­ent dy­namic vari­a­tions from the in­stru­ment, and these all have par­tic­u­lar names. Shakes, trills, falls and doits are all ex­am­ples of the kind of ar­tic­u­la­tion that can be found in a half-de­cent horn li­brary.

All of these have a par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter that, when added to an ar­range­ment and used cor­rectly, can lend an air of hu­man­ity to what might oth­er­wise be a rel­a­tively vibe-free, ma­chine-like se­quence of staid brass sam­ples. So, us­ing Logic Pro X’s Stu­dio Horns in­stru­ment, let’s in­ves­ti­gate a few of the dif­fer­ent ar­tic­u­la­tion types avail­able, and check out how you can use them to add au­then­tic brassy vibes to your own tunes.

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